Sruthan claims Lincolnshire as Flat season starts at the Curragh

Aussie Valentine gave trainer Paul Deegan one-two in big race

Paul Deegan saddled a memorable one-two in the Tote Irish Lincolnshire as Sruthan led home stablemate Aussie Valentine.

The latter, better fancied in the market at 8-1, had made a bold bid from exiting the stalls and led to just outside the furlong marker, where the 12-1 winner and Chris Hayes assumed command.

Running on strongly from there, the winning margin was four and a half lengths from Aussie Valentine, who just held on for second from Richard Fahey’s British raider Gabrial’s Kaka. Lily’s Rainbow was fourth.

Favourite Ashraf never threatened to get in a blow and was most disappointing.


Deegan said: “It’s been a lucky race for us and we won it a few years back with Big Robert.

“Things didn’t go right for Sruthan at the back-end of last year. He had dropped down to a lovely mark so we had to go for it. It was a no-brainer off that mark.

“He’s a good horse and a proper Group Three performer. He did an outstanding piece of work last Tuesday.

“Chris probably thought he was on the wrong horse, but I insisted he ride him. It worked out and he would have shot me if I had been wrong.

“Sruthan will I imagine go back to stakes level and we have options like the Gladness again.

“The other fella ran his race again. He was unlucky last year as he was beaten by Mr Stack’s horse (Onenightidreamed) who went on to beat Sruthan in a Group Three. So how well in was he then.

“Many men spend their lives trying to win a race like the Lincoln, so it means a lot to win a race like this.”

Dermot Weld said of Ashraf: "He was very disappointing. He was blowing heavily and gave a couple of coughs. He was beaten too early.

“There is no point scoping him straight away. It’s much more accurate if you wait two hours. He worked nicely with Embiran on Friday.”

Queen Blossom eventually wore down Devonshire to claim top honours in the Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes.

The Willie McCreery-trained Devonshire was the 11-4 market leader for the one-mile Group Three, making her first appearance since finishing down the field in the EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in Canada in October.

For a long way it looked as though favourite-backers would collect, with Devonshire easing clear under a confident looking William Buick.

However, her stride began to shorten in the final furlong and Fran Berry conjured a late run from Patrick Prendergast's Queen Blossom (16-1) and she got up by a length.

Queen Blossom made a winning debut at Cork in September before finishing fourth on her only subsequent start in a Leopardstown Listed event the following month.

Prendergast said: “She’s very honest. She grew a lot over the winter and we have her in the Irish Oaks.

“We said we’d take a chance today, although a mile would be too short, as it would be a hard mile in that ground and she stays very well.

“I said to Fran it might be a bit sharp and I’d be happy with third and get black type.

“I thought I was going to be very happy with second but she’s so honest and stays so well.”

Mister Trader made a most impressive start to his career in the opening race of the new turf Flat season.

A field of 12 unraced juveniles went to post for the five-furlong Tally Ho Stud EBF Maiden, with Kevin Prendergast's Tawaleef and Terrific Feeling from Michael O'Callaghan's yard, the first mount of Kieren Fallon since relocating to Ireland, disputing favouritism.

However, Darren Bunyan’s 25-1 shot Mister Trader made a fast start to take an early lead and picked up well inside the final furlong to score by four and a quarter lengths.

Comhghairdeas was best of the rest in second, with Callender another two lengths away in third.

Terrific Feeling was not disgraced in finishing fifth, but Tawaleef was disappointing.

Stenographer lunged late to land the Elusive Pimpernel Maiden for the formidable combination of trainer Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning.

The American-bred chestnut was a 3-1 chance for his racecourse introduction and looked booked for minor honours when the more experienced pair of Sufoof and Paddy Power drew clear heading inside the last of six furlongs.

However, Stenographer finished with a rattle against the rail to get up and score by half a length.

Richard Fahey’s British raider Paddy Power just beat Sufoof to the runner-up spot.

Ado McGuinness's stable stalwart Bubbly Bellini toughed out victory in the St Patrick's Festival Handicap.

Already the veteran of over 100 competitive starts and a 16-times winner, the 13-2 winner showed admirable courage to see off Club Wexford by a neck in the hands of Declan McDonogh.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained Awtaad (5-1) proved much too good for his rivals in the Plusvital Madrid Handicap.

A winner at Leopardstown in October when last seen, the Cape Cross colt made a smart start and was immediately brought across the track to bag the rail by jockey Chris Hayes.

He moved off the fence to throw down his challenge inside the final two furlongs and picked up well under hands and heels driving to strike gold by five lengths from Theodorico.

Embiran (11-4 favourite) displayed a smart change of gear to come out on top in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Atlas gave Fallon a good spin on the front end and battled away once headed by Stellar Mass just over a furlong out, but both were caught and passed by the Dermot Weld-trained Embiran, who looked better the further he went and crossed the line with a length and a quarter in hand of Stellar Mass.